Monday, 23 May 2016

Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making: A Book Review

To me, a lot of modern quilts look like a dog ate the fabric and threw it up again. They remind me of something I might have found in a 60's hippie pad: no rhyme or reason, no beauty or symmetry. I can't figure out why someone would waste good fabric on something so ugly. However, I really wasn't sure what exactly defined modern quilting. Not every quilt I make can be considered strictly traditional. Take, for example, Stars Over Africa: I used a traditional block in a non-traditional setting, and used bold colours with high contrast. Was that modern or traditional?  So, I googled a definition and found a good description on Craftsy. Characteristics which help define a modern quilt are "the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. 'Modern traditionalism' or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting." Based on that definition, I guess a lot of my quilts would fall under "modern traditionalism." And maybe not all modern quilts have to be ugly. 
Having said all that, however, none of the quilts in this book really appealed to me. I do try to make at least one project from any crafting book I review. And I did intend to do that with this book, but I couldn't bring myself to waste good fabric/time/money on something I really didn't like. The paper piecing section looked the most interesting of any of the projects, so I started with this fedora: 
I was originally planning on making five of the paper-pieced blocks and using them in a tote bag, but after finishing this one and starting on the Sunny Dress, I decided I really didn't want to waste my time sewing microscopic pieces of fabric together. Seriously! I have much better things to do with my time. 
Do I recommend this book? If you really like Modern Quilt Making or want to learn it, then it is likely worthwhile. Each workshop is set up really well, with detailed instructions and lots of pictures. I didn't read the whole book, but I did glean some interesting tips in the "workshop" on colour. In the paper piecing workshop, I also found out about a seam roller, a tool which I hadn't known existed. Overall, however, this book is definitely not for me as this type of quilting is definitely not for me. 
I received a free advance digital copy of this book from Net Galley for review purposes. I borrowed a hard copy from the library to use the paper piecing templates.